It’s been a banner season so far for the Lewis and Clark boys soccer team.
But if the first-place Tigers are to raise a Greater Spokane League championship banner, they’ll have to finish the job this week against their two closest pursuers.
“We’ve put ourselves in a great opportunity going into these matches, get the upper hand and take care of business,” said LC coach Mica Lamb, whose team is 7-0 in GSL play going into the final week of the regular season.
Up next is a high-stakes rivalry match Wednesday at third-place Ferris, followed by another road match Friday against second-place Mt. Spokane.
With two matches left, LC has a perfect 21 points thanks to seven regulation GSL wins. Mt. Spokane has 18 points and the Saxons have 17.
The Tigers (9-2 overall) still could win the regular season with a split, but probably need to win them both to take the GSL title.
The stakes may be even higher for the Saxons (6-1 GSL, 9-1 overall), who sit just one point ahead of Central Valley in the race for a top-two finish and a spot in the 4A District title match on May 6.
Mt. Spokane (6-1, 8-2) already has locked up the top seed in the 3A District, but a GSL title would be icing on the cake.
“I think this group of boys has been working so hard, to finally get to this point, it’s awesome,” said Wildcats coach Ryan Campanella, whose team would put themselves in position to play for the title with a win Wednesday over North Central (1-6, 2-6).
Mt. Spokane is coming off a 1-0 win Friday over previously unbeaten Ferris.
Lamb and some of his players witnessed that match, courtesy of a bye. “We feel like we have a great idea of what they like to do,” Lamb said.
Said Campanella, “I’m sure it’s going to be one heck of a match.”
That’s something the Tigers haven’t faced lately; LC has outscored its GSL opponents 29-5 and hasn’t been tested since a 2-1 win over CV in the GSL opener on March 26.
“They know the last four or five matches haven’t been as competitive, but they realize the quality of the opposition coming up,” Lamb said.
Lamb expected his team to score in bunches, but has been pleasantly surprised by the resilience of the young Tigers defenders, along with midfielders Alex McNeill and Kyle Briggs.
A big equalizer could be the grass surface at both Ferris and Mt. Spokane; the Tigers have played just one match on grass, against last-place Rogers, in GSL play.
“That could be a factor, but our field is in pretty good shape,” said Ferris coach Robin Crain, who added that he’s telling his players to focus on what they can control and not linger on the loss to Mt. Spokane.
Here’s a look at the playoff picture in all classes:
4A: The top two teams will square off on May 6 at Spokane Falls Community College for the district title and at least one home match in regionals the following week. The third- and fourth-place teams face a loser-out match. The four playoff teams for next week are all but set, as fourth-place Mead holds a four-point lead over Gonzaga Prep.
Even with 21 points, LC could still finish as low as third with two losses combined with sweeps by Ferris (over LC and Mead) and Central Valley (over Rogers and G-Prep). In that scenario, Ferris and CV would meet for the district title. With only 12 points, Mead could jump to second place only if both Ferris and CV go 0-2 this week.
3A: Mt. Spokane will probably face Shadle Park (2-5, 4-6) in the district title match at SFCC on May 7, but North Central and University still have a chance to finish in the top two. Rogers faces U-Hi on Friday with a district berth likely at stake.
2A: Defending state champ Cheney (9-0 in the Great Northern League) has all but locked up the top seed at district, which begins on May 10. Pullman (8-1) has all but locked up second place.
1A: Lakeside (6-1 in the Northeast A League) has a two-game lead over Medical Lake and Riverside.